In Silicon Valley's white-hot competition for tech talent, programmers can face a daily barrage of calls from recruiters seeking to woo them to rival companies with offers of better pay and perks.
But workers for some of the biggest names in the business claim their phones fell silent because of a conspiracy among their employers.
A lawsuit filed in federal court in San Jose claims Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Apple violated antitrust laws by agreeing not to hire each other's best workers.
The suit contends the companies kept wages artificially low by preventing bidding wars for the best employees.
The companies' attorneys said the facts show no conspiracy but simply separate one-to-one pacts among companies as they worked together on various business ventures.